Small Caliber

Farm Journal

I moved back to the family farm in 1994. I regularly feel as if Nature is crouching at my back door, wagging its tail, waiting for me to come out and play.

Coming Soon

American Niwaki

Niwaki, you know, bonsai, only full size. Every Japanese home owner with a yard has niwaki. I took lots of photos of niwaki last year traveling in Japan. I came home wanting to try out the technique on a few of my own trees and shrubs. I’ll include before and after photos so you can decide whether or not the technique was any improvement.

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Colony Collapse Disorder Strikes Again

My bees died (again) this winter. They have died every winter now since the year after colony collapse disorder (CCD) first hit the news (2006). I remember that because I was real smug that first spring when everyone else was discovering missing bees and my colonies were just fine. I thought perhaps the plague would pass over my house. No, I got mine the next year.  Continue reading

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compost-1 I unloaded my first batch of compost from my converted cement mixer. Dad bought this antique at an auction when I was a kid. (Those were the days when there was more treasure than bidders and you could easily walk away with more than you could carry for two bits.) The ancient motor that came with it still works fine. (I keep it under cover.)

I throw in kitchen scraps as often as I fill my bucket, throw in a few hand handfuls of grass clippings and turn on the mixer for less than a minute.

compost-2It took a couple months before I had to empty the mixer. What came out smelled like fresh soil and looked completely decomposed.

After I took down my tomato cages, I spread hay over the garden and distributed the compost over the top.

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Notes 2000-2002

11/10/02 finished wiring for lights in barn

10/23/02 cut moved logs for dock, sprayed weeds

10/22/02 mowed blackberries in woods

10/21/02 grated driveways

10/11/02 made soap with Brad & Ann

9/27-10/3/02 deer hunting — Five days of hiking 8-10 miles a day and I didn’t even see a deer! Found an Indian cave, brought back a bag of deer bones

9/22/02 completed trellis on barn for morning glories

9/20/02 discovered three more baby rabbits in barn

9/15/02 picked pears

9/12/02 found remains of two baby rabbits in barn

8/21/02 shot a gray digger

8/16/02 shot a gray digger

8/15/02 shot three gray diggers

7/30/02 shot a gray digger

7/24/02 shot a gray digger

7/23/02 shot a gray digger

6/17/02 finished north property line fence

6/15/02 baby robins in barn

6/14/02 saw turtle laying eggs on dam

6/11/02 sprayed grass around barn

6/3/02 set fence posts on north property line

5/24/02 installed deer guards around new apple trees

5/18/02 sowed clover

4/28/02 sprayed blackberries

4/25/02 disked fields; saw first swallow

3/26/02 three baby rabbits peep out of the woodpile

3/25/02 saw humming birds fighting over my feeder

3/20/02 heard first night hawk of the season

2/28/02 saw three deer crossing valley bottom

2/27/02 watching a red-headed woodpecker at work, discerned that woodpeckers bore holes to collect insects rather than to find them

2/22/02 observed coyote near barn

2/14/02 discovered remains of a rabbit

2/13/02 trimmed trees

1/6/02 heard first tree frog of the season

9/15/01 mowed fields

7/9/01 fourth litter of rabbits emerges — uh, wait a minute, make that the fourth and fifth litters

6/26/01 Wine Sap apple tree fell after heavy rains

6/25/01 planted Sudan grass

6/13/01 finished plowing, sprayed grass

6/1/01 mowed fields

5/27/01 transplanted more ferns from field edges to front yard

5/11/01 Kahja brought out three more rabbits

5/5/01 transplanted ferns from field edges to front yard

5/4/01 smoked moles

4/25/01 mounted barn owl boxes in trees around fields, sprayed blackberries

4/12/01 swallows arrive

3/26/01 constructed ten barn owl boxes with the assistance of Brad Lechman-Su

3/20/01 ruby throated humming bird at feeder

1/31/01 observed a red squirrel eating walnut and willow tree buds

1/20/01 saw rabbits mating, bunnies due 2/19

12/6/00 a red-tailed hawk nabbed a gopher from the furrows just as I finished disking

12/4/00 patched barn roof

11/28-30/00 smoked venison sausage

11/28/00 disked east field

11/27/00 tanned deer hide

11/20/00 butchered deer

11/10/00 dressed deer

11/8/00 patched barn roof

10/30/00 back filled water tank pressure

9/25/00 welded disk

9/14/00 heard coyotes take down a sheep

9/13/00 trimmed trees around fields

9/12/00 cleaned fuel line on tractor

9/11/00 patched barn roof

8/4/00     saw bobcat hunting gophers

8/1/00 fields mowed

7/24/00 shot three ground squirrels

7/15/00 built and hung four bat houses

7/13/00 ducklings hatched

6/25/00 sprayed blackberries

6/1/00 trapped a ground squirrel

5/20/00 turtle laid eggs

4/6/00 swallows arrived

3/19/00 painted barn, trimmed trees

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